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Logging my time (Week eight of Spring Semester 2018)

Number six in a series.

Last week was week eight of spring semester. It was also the last week before spring break. I spent Sunday of the week traveling to and from Kansas City, Missouri, to see the Grinnell Singers in action. While I was there, I also got to see a few alums I like and have dinner with Middle Son. With that day off [1], what did my week look like?

glimmer 10       0:10
infodir 35       0:35
clean   60       1:00
wgmc    65       1:05
email   150      2:30
work    165      2:45
admin   180      3:00
diglife 210      3:30
oh      250      4:10
tec154  285      4:45
csc32x  300      5:00
musing  455      7:35
dept    615     10:15
csc151  740     12:20

My, that’s a strange week. But at least it’s a reasonable one, about fifty hours if I don’t count the musings. The strangest thing is the five hours in CSC 32x, since I’m scheduled to be in that course for six hours per week. But there weren’t a lot of questions this week, I did most of my prep over the previous weekend, and Friday was an optional class in which I answered a few questions but mostly spent my time writing the next CSC 151 exam. It seemed reasonable to count that as CSC 151 time rather than CSC 32x time.

Of course, I mostly kept it at about fifty hours because (a) I had no time to do work on Sunday due to the Singers trip and (b) I eased up on my work a little in preparation for spring break. Among other things, meant that I also did not spend a lot of time working on Friday night or Saturday.

I’m still spending too much time on departmental administrative matters. That should be better after spring break. We shall see. I’ve certainly gotten a variety of small department tasks during the past day or two, and I have some medium-sized ones plan for spring break.

It looks like I spent a lot of time in office hours this past week. I’ll admit that I can’t remember the details. Some were with my CSC 151 students, some were with my advisees, and some were with students I’d never met before who wanted to talk about computing. Since I set aside about five hours per week for office hours, a bit more than four seems reasonable.

I introduced a new topic, digital life, which refers to getting my digital life in order. The first task was trying to deal with my failing laptop. I’ll report on that joyful experience in a subsequent musing.

My logging experience changed a bit this week. Since I already pre-script parts of my log (e.g., times in class, times preparing for class), I decided to add some of the expected tasks for the day on the log, as a very rough form of a to-do list [2]. Unfortunately, I also found that I was moving the things to do from day, to day, to day. That problem is one of the reasons I don’t generally like to keep to-do lists. Much as the number of anticipated musings regularly increases, so does the number of forthcoming things I hope to get done in the near future.

I had some interesting experiences thinking about how to correctly log some activities. I’ve already mentioned the question of how to log a lab day in CSC 322 when very few students showed up and those who did preferred to work on their own. In that case, I logged what I actually did rather than the class time. But I also had the question of how to log an assignment that also became part of a musing [3]. In the end, I decided that the part that I needed to write anyway counted as class preparation and the associated narrative counted as musing time.

As in prior weeks, there were events that I wanted to attend but could not for various reasons. We had a guest speaker on Monday with three different talks, all of which I had to miss. I still couldn’t find time to attend Lighting the Page. I had hoped to start attending How Colleges Work, but discovered that I really couldn’t spare the time, at least at that time of day. I missed Scholar’s Convocation, in part because no one bothered to put a sign about Scholar’s Convocation on Noyce 3rd [4]. We had a late Friday department meeting, and so I missed the Council Happy Hour. As a colleague suggested, I can buy my own beer. Nonetheless, I like the opportunity to talk informally with colleagues.

On the other hand, I was able to attend a variety of other things. I attended a few special meetings on Monday, one of which made me angry and one of which made me happy [5]. I saw the high school band perform on Tuesday night. I attended the Science Teaching and Learning Group on Wednesday. This week’s STaLG involved a nice conversation about how we connect students’ disciplinary learning to other disciplines and to the broader world. I got to see a co-opted middle- and high-school jazz band concert on Saturday [6]. And, of course, I got to see the Singers on Sunday. That’s not a bad ratio of able to attend to must miss.

That’s about all I’ve taken from this week. I did manage to get my work life a bit more manageable. But I do have a backlog for spring break. I added a few more categories. I’ll probably add more. I should update the software a bit so that it automatically puts things in different meta-categories (work/home/fun, or something like that).

It’s now spring break. Although I won’t do a weekly log analysis for the two weeks of spring break [7], I do plan to go back and see how much time I spent on each of the activities I had planned for spring break.

[1] It was a day off that involved me getting up before 8 a.m. and not getting home until nearly midnight.

[2] Yes, I’m also experimenting with a real to-do list. At the recommendation of a friend, I’m trying Todoist. I’ll report back on it, and on my general experience with to-do lists, in a few weeks.

[3] The assignment + musing refers to the CSC322 ethics assignment, in case you weren’t sure.

[4] Is it that hard to advertise the College’s important speaking events?

[5] The one that made me happy was a group interview with the folks at Ologie, our marketing firm. I hope to report back on that in the next few weeks.

[6] Those who attended know why I call it co-opted. I don’t consider it appropriate to say anything else publicly.

[7] Or at least I don’t think I will.

Version 1.0 of 2018-03-20.